For the past eight years, Phil Machemer has been performing the record-junkie version of the roaming food truck – he’s been taking his vast collection on the road, setting up in various locations around the city, offering his wares, and then moving on.
When he wasn’t cruising the city looking for like-minded music obsessives, Machemer opened his garage to customers and let them have at his collection.
But starting Nov. 13, Machemer and his Revolver Records will roam no more. A brick-and-mortar shop, located at 1451 Hertel Ave., near the corner of Norwalk Avenue, will house Machemer’s ever-expanding collection of vinyl and used CDs, spanning just about every genre.
Q: Tell me how long Revolver has existed as an online store, and describe the process of moving from selling vinyl from your garage, to opening a store in a fast-developing area.
A: Revolver Records, the name and business, is about three years old, but I have been a record dealer for about eight years. How I have been operating, and how I operate now, is as a mobile record shop. I set up at a few places around the city each week, when we have good weather. In the winter I switch my focus to online sales, primarily on eBay.
When I'm not set up someplace or selling online, people are welcome to make an appointment to browse in the garage, which is basically set up like a cramped little record shop. I'm hoping that the move to Hertel will open my business to a lot more people who would not have known about the garage or mobile shop.
Opening a shop on Hertel was really a no-brainier for me and my wife. We live down the street, and it seems like every day, it's expanding and getting better.
Q: Will Revolver specialize in vinyl? Are there specific genres, etc. that you plan to feature, or is the stock going to cover a broad selection of styles and eras?
A: My main focus is quality vintage vinyl records. I also do have a small selection of new vinyl releases and I plan to expand that selection shortly. I also sell 45s, 12-inch singles and used CDs. I always have in stock a huge selection of pretty much any genre you can think of, but the most popular genres are rock, soul, jazz and blues.
Q: What's your take on the Vinyl Renaissance? Is it just a fad, or is it something potentially lasting?
A: I think vinyl is here to stay. The Vinyl Renaissance has been going on for something like eight years now and vinyl sales keep going up and up. I would imagine it will peak at some point, but there will always be a huge following for vinyl.
Q: Where did you shop, growing up? And what got you into music in general, and record collecting in particular?
A: When I was younger, my favorite record shop, hands down, was Home Of The Hits, (on Elmwood Avenue) but unfortunately, they closed several years ago. I also spent countless hours at Record Theatre in the Outlet Mall when it was open, and I've become lifelong friends with several of the people who worked there.
I've always been really big into music. I played drums in a few bands when I was younger and I also play guitar. I got into vinyl after I purchased a 60 gig iPod about 10 years ago and I realized that every time I'd buy a CD, I’d upload it to the iPod, and never touch the CD again. At the time, many of the new releases I was into were coming out on vinyl and the price was about the same. Also, many new vinyl releases come with a download code, so you can put the entire record on your iPod and then spin the vinyl when you’re at home, so to me it was a no-brainier. Then from there, I naturally started buying older records and, as it has for many, it became an obsession for me.
Q: Any special plans for Record Store Day?
A: At the moment, I certainly do plan on participating in Record Store Day. I know you have to become part of some sort of cult to be able to start selling special RSD releases, but I'm going to do whatever I've got to do! (Record Store Day participants selling RSD exclusive products are part of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores: CIMSmusic.com.)
Whether or not I have any special releases for RSD, I will and always have worked hard to have a great selection of vintage records in great shape for fair prices. Customers should expect new records in the shop on pretty much a daily basis.